Lottie Fry’s top tips for success: ‘Take every opportunity, work hard and have fun’ *Exclusive*

  • In our latest episode of an exclusive new online series, Horse & Hound catches up with reigning dressage world champion Lottie Fry to learn more about her top horse, her up-and-coming stars, what life’s really like riding for one of the world’s top dressage breeders, and what advice she would give to young riders wanting to make it in the sport.

    Which horse is the biggest character on the yard right now and why?

    That would definitely be Glammy [Lottie’s world champion ride Glamourdale] – he’s the chattiest. He’s always talking to everyone; when you go into the stable he always calls to you.

    What makes Glamourdale so special?

    Well, many, many things of course – but definitely his showmanship, he loves to compete and loves the big arena. He just wants to show off. It is probably the nicest thing, when you go to a competition and you know your horse loves to perform.

    Which horses are you most excited about right now?

    There’s a lot coming up actually. Probably Kjento, he’s eight this year. And Especial, the grey one, he’s just had his international debut in Ermelo and got 73%. I think they are really talented and are showing so much promise for the future. Especial has got such a good track record and has so much talent for the grand prix work. We have high hopes for him. I don’t know where they are going next – I haven’t planned anything for after the dressage Europeans, I’ll just get back, have a bit of down time and concentrate on training the younger horses. We might concentrate on the World Cup indoor season with Especial.

    What makes the Van Olst breeding operation so successful?

    The stud’s owners Anna and Gertjan are both so knowledgeable. Gertjan is behind the breeding and he really has looked at what works and what doesn’t work – he knows which mares work with his stallions, so it’s evolved really well. They are also keen on the character of the horses – which I think is super important. All of our horses love to work and always want to work. They also love to compete.

    You’re a very tactful, yet effective rider. Is it a conscious decision to ride that way?

    I think so – but it is also very much impacted by the fact I ride mainly stallions and they’re big, strong horses. This means I have to control them with my technique and it’s nothing to do with strength, especially as I am not very big. I love to ride like that. I think it’s the best way to ride the stallions and gain mutual respect.

    What is Lottie Fry’s go-to training mantra right now?

    I think transitions are one of the most important things – I always do lots of them during my warm up on all the horses. Just so you have them on your aids from the beginning and you have a mutual understanding. They need to be listening and then they are ready to do other things.

    They say you never stop learning in horse sport – what’s the last thing you learned?

    I definitely learn new things from the horses every day – it’s good to remember they are animals, anything can happen.

    Do you feel pressure riding the Van Olst horses?

    Not really. It feels like a family now – with the three of us, there’s no pressure, we all want to do our best. So much hard work goes into every competition, but there’s no pressure.

    What is the next non-equestrian entry in Lottie Fry’s diary?

    To be honest, I rarely have one! When I do have one, it’s always last minute – you never know what is going to happen with the horses and they always come first. Mostly with holiday, I’ll do it the week before. As for days off – I’d still be in the stable for sure and definitely still be riding.

    What advice does Lottie Fry have for up-and-coming young riders?

    I would say take every opportunity you can, work hard and have fun.

    Can you tell us how your mother Laura, [who competed at the Barcelona Olympics and passed away in 2012] inspired you?

    I always have that inspiration and drive – she is definitely a major part of my success.

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